Music Merchandise Designer Employment Information

Mar 06, 2019

A music merchandise designer is a visual artist who creates original album art, T-shirts, posters, and other merchandise for musical acts to sell to fans. For information about education requirements, useful skills, employment outlook and salary, read on.

Career Definition for a Music Merchandise Designer

Music merchandise designers use graphical images to complement a band's music and create the 'look' that accompanies the 'sound.' There is a critical distinction between music merchandising and musical merchandise design. While business skills benefit either career, a music merchandise designer must be proficient in art.

A music merchandise designer's projects can range from creating CD cover art to designing a line of clothing, accessories, posters, stickers, and paraphernalia to promote a specific tour. Musical merchandise design may also include website and social media page layout.

Education Bachelor's degree in graphic design beneficial, but not required
Job Skills Art, communication, critical thinking
Median Salary (2017)* $48,700 for graphic designers
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 4% for graphic designers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A music merchandise designer must have a solid foundation in studio art. While some artists are self-taught, completion of a bachelor's degree program in graphic design can provide proof of competency in the field. Accredited programs can be found through the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, which approves approximately 300 programs in the United States.

Skills Required

Graphic designers in general should have good art, communication, and critical thinking skills. A sense of creativity and proficiency in the use of current design software is assumed; the ability to think like a fan can be helpful.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), graphic design professionals earned median annual wages of $48,700 in May 2017, with employment opportunities expected to increase by 4% nationwide from 2016-2026 ( Independent music merchandise designers negotiate their own fees, usually on a per-piece basis, while those employed by design firms can expect variable salaries.

Alternate Career Options

Consider these other possibilities for a career in creative management:

Advertising and Promotions Managers

Advertising and promotions managers oversee the production of giveaways, posters and other collateral materials to create a buzz for an account or a company. Academic requirements include completion of a bachelor's degree program in advertising, journalism, or marketing. Advertising and promotions managers will see faster-than-average increases in employment from 2016 to 2026, and the BLS has predicted 10% growth in jobs for marketing managers during the same period. According to the BLS, advertising and promotions managers received median yearly salaries of $106,130 as of May 2017 (

Web Developers

Web developers create and oversee the technical aspects of multimedia content and websites in accordance with user needs, including audio and video components. An associate degree in web design, or a closely related area, is needed to enter the field; a bachelor's degree in computer science or programming may be required for some positions. Additional requirements can include knowledge of Flash or other multimedia software. As reported by the BLS, web developers across the country can look forward to a 15% increase in jobs from 2016-2026, which is much faster than average. As of May 2017, web developers earned median annual salaries of $67,990 (

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